Domestic cats have far fewer opportunities to brush their teeth on their own using herbs and certain solid foods. The most harmless gum disease in cats can lead to serious problems.
In this article, you will learn about cat gum disease (gingivitis), its main symptoms, complications, treatment and prevention methods.
In humans and in pets, including cats, gingivitis is usually called any gum disease. This disease can affect one tooth, and several at once. Specialists in diseases of the oral cavity agree that gingivitis is a harbinger of a more serious and difficult to cure disease - periodontal disease (source in English).Gingivitis (gum disease) in cats is manifested as redness of the gums around one or more teeth
At the beginning of its course, gingivitis in cats affects the gums, and then goes to the ligaments and bones that hold the teeth.
Do not forget that diseased teeth and gums as a whole negatively affect the general condition of the body. And it's not only bad breath and periodic, and in some cases constant, pain, but also the spread of infection.
The fact is that a sufficiently large number of blood vessels leads to the gums. Infection from the oral cavity through the blood can quickly spread and affect the liver, kidneys and other internal organs.
Causes of Gingivitis in Cats
Gum disease is the first “bell” that signals the onset of destructive (destructive) processes in the tissues that surround one or more teeth.
The causes of gingivitis in cats are divided into endogenous (internal) and exogenous (external).
Endogenous causes include:
- malocclusion (inflammation occurs due to mechanical damage to the gums with improperly located teeth and getting bacteria and infections into the wound cavity);
- vitamin deficiency (lack of "health vitamins" - A and C is especially dangerous for cats);
Exogenous causes are:
- the presence of tubular bones in the diet (their sharp fragments injure the cat's oral cavity, and then an inflammatory process develops in microcracks due to trapped microbes);
- gum injury with sharp objects;
- radiation (in the treatment of oncology by radiation therapy or with frequent x-ray examination);
- infectious processes;
- exposure to chemicals;
- viral diseases (calcivirosis, rhinotracheitis, panleukopinia).
Additional risk factors include:
- advanced age of the animal;
- blood diseases (e.g. leukemia);
- autoimmune diseases (pemphigus, systemic lupus erythematosus, and others).
Read how to choose the right food for any cat.
Symptoms and diagnosis of gingivitis
If the cat became sluggish, began to refuse even her favorite food, unmotivated irritable and aggressive, she should be suspected of gingivitis. However, all this can be symptoms of many diseases.
The owner needs to examine the mouth of his pet.
Important!One of the main symptoms of gingivitis is red gums and their bleeding.
These symptoms are most easily seen on the line where the tooth enters the gum. Usually At this stage of the disease is already noted cat bad breath, which is caused by the processes of decay of food debris and the multiplication of bacterial microflora.
Incidentally, another sign of gingivitis is profuse salivation.
In the later stages of the development of the disease, the animal losing interest in foodsince physically cannot chew it, exhaustion, apathy.
In a veterinary clinic, specialists usually prescribe an X-ray examination. Sometimes a biopsy and tissue sampling is required for histological examination.
Doctor may recommend an analysis to detect leukemia and immunodeficiency virus. An animal blood and urine test may be prescribed, but these tests are usually useless to diagnose gingivitis.
Treatment for gingivitis in cats
Treatment for gingivitis in cats depends on the degree of neglect of the disease. In the early stages, you can do with brushing your teeth.
Important!Human dentifrice cats are categorically not suitable.
Firstly, the animals are not attracted by the menthol odor, which is present in most pastes and gels.
Secondly, the concentration of many substances in toothpastes is too high for people and can negatively affect tetrapods.
Veterinarians recommend treating the oral cavity of cats with disinfecting solutions (for example, chlorhexidine or miramistin) and special ointments: Metrogil Denta (available at a regular pharmacy), Dentavedin and Zubastik (sold in veterinary pharmacies).
By the way, did you know that mild forms of gingivitis can be treated at home with folk remedies, in particular, decoctions of herbs?
Chamomile broth. Boil 1 glass of water, pour 1 tablespoon of dried leaves and chamomile flowers into it (you can buy cheaply at every human drugstore), cook for 10 minutes on the smallest fire, let cool, strain.
Strawberry Broth. Dried strawberry leaves should be poured into boiling water in a proportion of 1:10, mix, wrap the container in a towel and let cool.
Oregano tea. For 1 cup of boiling water, you need to take 1 teaspoon of oregano, stir and let stand for 30-40 minutes.
Plaque in the treatment of gum disease in cats should be removed with a special brush designed to cleanse the oral cavity in cats. If it is not possible to buy it, you can use a regular toothbrush for people, but you should choose one in which the bristles are as soft as possible. A toothbrush designed for children 3-5 years old is quite suitable.
Important!In the later stages of gingivitis, you can’t do without visiting a veterinary clinic, where specialists will reorganize the cat's oral cavity with an ultrasonic scaler and treat the gums.
Another effective remedy for combating gingivitis in cats is interferon. It prevents the transition of gingivitis to a more severe stage, and also has an immunostimulating effect. Prescribe interferon can only veterinarian, despite the fact that the drug is considered harmless and does not cause allergies. The specialist will also calculate the dosage and duration of treatment, depending on the severity of the disease, the age and weight of the cat.
In severe cases of gingivitis, when it is no longer necessary to remove the gum disease, but a complex treatment of the whole body, it will help antibiotics and immunomodulators.
Antibiotics (for example, “Tomorgyl”, “Linkomycin”, “Conventions”, “Clindamycin”) in the treatment of gingivitis in cats can only be prescribed by a doctor, otherwise you can incorrectly calculate the dose or choose the wrong drug, which will lead to the death of the animal.
If cats do not treat gingivitis, complications are possible, for example, periodontal disease - severe inflammation of the gums, which leads to the destruction and loss of teeth. Typically, periodontal disease is accompanied by severe pain, the formation of ulcers, wounds with pus.
Mild cases of gum inflammation if you ignore the condition of the oral cavity or inadequate treatment can result in a disease such as plasma-lymphocytic gingivitis in cats, which is essentially an ulcerative lesion of the oral mucosa. Moreover, ulcers appear both around the teeth, on the gums, and in the larynx, and sometimes even in the esophagus.
Running gingivitis in cats leads to the defeat of the whole body by toxins that occur during the life of pathogens. The body of a once healthy and active pet is slowly poisoned, which leads to the development of sepsis - blood poisoning, as well as pathologies of internal organs.
Important!In some cases, severe forms of gingivitis lead to the complete destruction of individual sections of the oral cavity and fractures of the jaw of a cat.
Prevention of gum disease in cats
- Regular preventive examinations the oral cavity of a cat. If you see small wounds, sores, an unpleasant odor, you should consult a doctor to make a diagnosis.
- Proper nutrition. In the case of the use of ready-made feeds, it is necessary to choose premium mixes. For prophylaxis, twice a year, you can give your cat a specialized “medicinal” food for a week, which includes oral cleansing ingredients.
- Regular brushing. Ideally, the cat’s teeth should be brushed 2-3 times a month using veterinary medicines to remove plaque.
How to teach a cat to brush his teeth?
The sooner you start to train a cat to brush your teeth, the better.
At the first stage the animal should be made aware that the owner will not cause pain if he touches the teeth and gums. The cat needs to be approached slowly, choosing the moment when she is in a relaxed state, for example, she has just woken up. You should stroke your pet, speak affectionate words and, as if by accident, touch your teeth, gums, tongue.
It is possible that it will take several weeks for your pet to completely trust and not to show anxiety when the owner's fingers penetrate the oral cavity.
Second stage Accustoming is the use of a toothbrush. A cat that was previously unfamiliar should sniff, or even lick. When the animal is in a calm state, open its mouth, lightly brush your teeth, tongue, gums. Ensure that the presence of a foreign body in the animal’s mouth does not bother him.
Third stage will be direct brushing. First you can use only a brush, and then brush your cat’s teeth using ointments and special pastes (Hamigake, Elgidium, Dentavedin, Radiance, Feline Oral Care, etc.).